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Greenford man jailed for part in Ealing riots

Monday, 28 November, 2011 1 comment

An Afghan man was jailed at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday for his involvement in the August riots.

Sabaoon Hillaman (left), of Ruislip Road, Greenford, was sentenced to a total of three and a half years in prison for violent disorder, arson and criminal damage.

At about 11pm on 8th August 23-yr-old Hillaman was seen on CCTV in the Ealing Broadway area, wearing a distinctive dark top with two stripes on one arm and a dark baseball cap. He could be seen in a group surrounding an overturned ‘SMART’ car which had been dragged into the middle of Bond Street.

Hillaman and the group tried repeatedly to set fire to the car. The vehicle eventually erupted into flames (see 2326 update) in the centre of the High Street while a group pelted police with bricks, bottles and other missiles.

Hillaman was also captured on CCTV setting fire to a second vehicle, parked at the side of the road. The group lit a bonfire in the middle of the road from which Hillaman removed flaming material from the bonfire and threw it through a smashed window, causing the vehicle to be completely destroyed.

The group then started smashing surrounding business premises and looting shops, while continuing to throw missiles at police from behind barricades they had made.

At one point Hillaman grabbed a fire extinguisher and threw it at the window of a barber shop, ‘Big Jim’s Trims’. He then repeatedly kicked the window, causing damage to the value of £3,000.

On 22 September he was arrested at his home address. In November he pleaded guilty to violent disorder, two counts of arson and criminal damage.

At the time of these offences, Hillaman was on bail to Woolwich Crown Court after pleading guilty to a substantial fraud.

Sergeant Robin Dodd from Ealing Police, in charge of the investigation, said:

“In interview Hillaman could offer no explanation as to why he had committed these offences. I, along with the rest of the community in Ealing, cannot comprehend what has led to this behaviour. Operation Withern is, at this very moment, continuing to arrest the others involved in this incident, and we will also be bringing them to justice.”


Explosion blows roof off Ruislip house

Sunday, 27 November, 2011 Leave a comment

A maisonette in Ruislip had half of its roof blown off earlier this evening after a boiler exploded.

London Fire Brigade were called to the house, located on West End Road in Ruislip, just before 6pm. Witnesses reported nearing a loud bang which was reportedly audible as far away as Northwood. A fire then broke out in the damaged building.

The roof of the maisonette, which is being used as a 5-bedroom flat, caved in. None of the tenants were at home at the time. Two fire engines attended the scene and West End Road was closed off, re-opening at about 8.30pm.

It is not known at present what the cause of the boiler explosion was.

Feltham baggage handler jailed for Heathrow thefts

Friday, 25 November, 2011 Leave a comment

A Heathrow baggage handler has been imprisoned for rifling through passengers’ luggage.

Jailed: Alan Bardell is serving six months for stealing airline passengers' valuables.

Alan Bardall, 52, of The Gardens, Feltham, appeared at Isleworth Crown Court today where he was sentenced to six months for six counts of theft and four counts of attempted theft.

Police officers at the Heathrow Crime Squad mounted a covert operation which identified Bardall, who was responsible for routing transit passengers’ luggage to the right destinations, was stealing valuables from the bags he was entrusted with.

Detectives arrested Bardall at home on Monday 13 June, and searched his address. A Sony camcorder and a laptop were recovered. He was formally charged on 19th October.

Further enquiries established that Bardall had been responsible for stealing £2,000 worth of valuables.

In a bid to reunite the stolen electronic items with their rightful owners, officers examined the material held on them. It was established that the laptop – containing a whole year’s coursework – belonged to an American student working in Ireland. Officers were able to pinpoint the owner of the camcorder by looking at photographs held on its memory card. The hotel that the victim had been staying at was identified, and officers were then able to determine a name via the hotel and the airline manifest.

The camcorder belonged to Renate Klaus, of Austria, who had visited London with her fiancé for the first time. She took over 800 photographs during her stay.

Klaus said: “I am so grateful that I got all my property back! It was my first time in London, and I was thrilled from the city, that’s why I had taken so many pictures. Now I can be happy again and think of the wonderful London. I will certainly visit again. My special thanks go to PC Chris Ladmore. Without his help all would have been lost.”

PC Ladmore said: “Any theft is distressing, but experiencing loss following a holiday is particularly awful. We are delighted to have reunited Renate with her camcorder and more importantly her precious photo and video memories of London.”

Image via comedy_nose, Flickr.

UKIP and Conservatives fast off the mark in Feltham by-election

Friday, 25 November, 2011 2 comments

The UK Independence Party and the Conservatives have both announced their candidates for the Feltham and Heston by-election next month.

Mark Bowen and Andrew Charalambous are both contesting Feltham & Heston.

Following the death of Alan Keen MP, who passed away aged 73 earlier this month, Parliament moved a writ to hold a by-election in the Hounslow constituency.

Standing for the Conservatives is Mark Bowen, who fought the seat in both 2005 and 2010.

Bowen is leader of the Conservative group on Hounslow Borough Council. Commenting on his selection, Bowen said it was a “privilege” to be the Conservative candidate.

“Having lived in the constituency for the past 13 years, it really is a great honour and I am extremely proud of my local area,” he said. “I have been a councillor for the last 9 years and have fought the last two general elections as the Conservative Candidate.”

Meanwhile, UKIP’s housing spokesman, Andrew Charalambous, will contest the seat for the anti-EU party.

Charalambous, 39, is a London-based property developer. Last year he stood as a Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton. He said: “It is a great honour to be standing for UKIP and I will use every bit of I energy I possess to campaign tirelessly to give UKIP its first MP in Westminster. I have stood for parliament before and I know the effort required. Previously, I stood as a Conservative, but that party has let everybody down which is why I am now standing for UKIP.”

The by-election will be held on 15th December. At the time of writing no other major party has declared its candidates.

First Great Western adds extra seats to commuter services

Friday, 25 November, 2011 2 comments

First Great Western will add an extra 4,500 seats to commuter trains running into and out of London Paddington starting from early next year.

15 of these Mark III carriages will be added to high speed trains running into Paddington. Pic via Matthew Black.

Extra government funding means a total of 48 carriages will be added to First’s services between London, Reading and the south west. New trains will start operating between Worcester and London Paddington, freeing up capacity for extra seats on Thames Valley commuter services.

Vernon Barker, Managing Director of FirstGroup’s UK rail division, said: “We’re delighted at this announcement by the Department for Transport, which is good news for First Great Western’s customers across the network and will reduce crowding on the most popular peak services.”

A total of 27 peak daily services calling at Twyford, 28 calling at Maidenhead and 23 calling at Slough will receive extra carriages.

Theresa Villiers, Transport Secretary, said: “We are determined to tackle overcrowding and provide better, more comfortable journeys for passengers. These extra carriages will enable existing services to be lengthened which will significantly increase their capacity.

Fifteen carriages being added to the high speed trains operating out of Paddington are ex-British Rail Mk.III buffet cars which will be converted to standard class. 33 carriages will be added to other services across the areas targeted for improvement.These will be phased in between February 2012 and September 2012. The Government hopes the extra carriages will be deployed in time for next summer’s Olympic Games.

The cost of improving capacity on the network will be £28.9m.

Armed robbery at Harrow petrol station

Wednesday, 23 November, 2011 Leave a comment

A man brandishing a sawn-off shotgun robbed a Wealdstone petrol station last week.

Police were called at approximately 06:20hrs on Thursday, 17 November after a man entered the Total petrol station on Wealdstone High Street.

He threatened staff, hitting one over the head with the weapon before making off with a quantity of cash. No shots were fired.

The man was described as 5’7″ tall wearing dark clothing with his face covered. He reportedly drove off in a white vehicle.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Flying Squad on 020 8358 1751 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

There has been no arrest and enquiries continue.

Categories: News

Northwood soldier killed in Afghanistan

Wednesday, 23 November, 2011 Leave a comment

A soldier from Northwood will be repatriated to RAF Brize Norton later today after he was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Pte Tom Lake, 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment. Crown copyright.

Private Thomas Christopher Lake, 29, from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1 PWRR), died on Sunday 20 November. He was part of a patrol to reassure the local population in the Jamal Kowi area of the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province when he was caught in an explosion.

Pte Lake, who lived in Northwood, joined the Army in November 2009 and passed out of basic training in May 2010. He joined B Company, 1 PWRR in Germany shortly afterwards.

Upon joining his battalion he attended a number of courses – most notably the Assault Pioneers’ Course and the Team Medics’ Course, and he recently completed part one of the arduous Snipers’ Course in Brecon, Wales.

He deployed to Canada with 4 Platoon, B Company in July 2010, remaining with that platoon during the battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan. He is survived by his mother, Carol. She said: “Tom was a wonderful son and I will miss him more than I can say. He had so many friends who will remember him as a loyal, fun-loving action man who was always the first to try anything new and usually excelled at it. He died doing something he loved and believed in. I will always be proud of my boy.

Pte Lake’s fellow soldiers and officers paid tribute to him after he was killed in action.

Lieutenant Colonel James Coote, Commanding Officer, 1 PWRR, said: “Pte Lake’s untimely death has denied the battalion of one of its brightest soldiers; we are all the worse off for his loss. As ever, the sincerest tribute comes from his friends in his platoon who described him simply as ‘our best bloke’. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his mother Carol and with all those that had the honour to know him.”

Major Ross Noott, Officer Commanding B Company, 1 PWRR, said: “Professional to the end, he died as he had lived: serving his country with mates whose trust, respect and friendship he had earned and shared. An older brother to many in the company, soldiers looked to him for help and encouragement and were never disappointed.”

Second Lieutenant Rob Coates, 4 Platoon commander, 1 PWRR, said: “As both a person and a soldier Private Tom Lake excelled. One of the real characters in the platoon, he was a constant source of entertainment. Hours raced by when I was acting as watchkeeper with Private Lake on ‘stag’, due to his ability to chat endlessly on any topic. Private Lake lived with his mum Carol and he always made sure that he rang home regularly to see how she was.”

2Lt Coates added: “In the field, he proved himself a diligent, hardworking and conscientious soldier. He quickly learned how to build up a rapport with the locals and his sense of humour proved its worth many times over. He was the elder statesman of the platoon and as a result all of the lads looked up to him and sought his advice.

Sergeant Martin Caines, 4 Platoon Sergeant, said: “Private Lake was the best soldier in my platoon without a doubt. Always the first soldier to have his kit on, ready to take the fight to the enemy with his sharpshooter rifle. He and I were planning a trip to the Nürburgring on our bikes after we got back. It was a pleasure to have him under my command. It is a sad loss and he will be missed by me and B Company complete; missed but never forgotten.”

Corporal Oliver Kennedy, Section Commander, said: “Lakey, probably one of the best soldiers within the platoon – liked by everyone. An absolute hardworker and one of those people that would never have to be asked to do anything.”

Cpl Kennedy’s fellow section commander, Cpl Jonathan St Paul, added: “He was funny and always came out with some cracking banter and jokes. He was bright and cheery and morale was high with Tom around. He loved a brew and was always punching them back – the kettle was always on and water boiling with Tom.”

Lance Corporal James Nopps, section second-in-command, said: “He loved to play table tennis, which he was very good at, and some of the games we played out here were pretty tense. I will always remember singing ‘Rocky – Eye of the Tiger’ to him, as I had beaten him, and the way he said he would beat me in our next match.”

Private Zachary Myers, who served alongside Pte Lake, said: “I don’t wish to sound clichéd, but Tom was a top bloke. He always had a smile and a joke at the ready. If anybody needed to do something he would lend a hand. In the checkpoint he helped us waterproof our beds, built a shelter over the kitchen and was a great general handyman.

“He lived life to the full, be it riding his motorbike, sky diving or waterskiing. Anything he could try, he would. Tom was always putting other people before himself. “The night before we flew out he ordered us a curry and we all sat in my room and ate a last meal together. Tom was a great bloke and I’m glad to call him my friend. He will be sorely missed.”

Private William Keough, 4 Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, said: “How do you sum up the life of a close friend into a few paragraphs? Answer, you can’t. What you can do is remember the truly great things about them.

I know it’s a cliché to say that he was the heart and soul of the platoon and the best of the best, but I find myself stuck for any other way to describe him.

“Tom was the easiest guy in the platoon to get along with and he was both funny and smart. To me he was an older brother and someone I could confide in or talk complete rubbish with. He was always the first to lend a helping hand and without doubt the centre of the platoon’s morale.

“My lasting thought of Tom will be him in a bright green duvet jacket, brew in hand and smiling. He will forever be missed and never replaced; a great soldier and one of the best friends anyone could ask for.”